|Home > Chelle Bliss > Men of Inked > Without Me (Page 39)|
|Without Me(Men of Inked #7) by Chelle Bliss|
“Is that why you keep getting rid of me?” It all started to click.
“Yes!” she wailed, and closed her eyes.
I reached out. “Come on, Kitty Cat. Come inside so we can talk.”
She didn’t speak as she let me guide her inside.
I sat down and pulled her into my lap. “Why would you do that, Max? Push me away.”
As she wiped her cheeks, she said, “I decided years ago, when I saw my father wither away, that I wouldn’t do that to another person. I avoided relationships, promising to never have to subject someone to that kind of life. I want you, Anthony. I crave you. Being with you brings me so much happiness.”
“Then why not let me make the decision for myself?” I asked. One thing I’d never done well with was people making decisions for me.
“Because you wouldn’t make a clear decision. You don’t know what you’re dealing with.” She laid her head on my shoulder as I pulled her closer.
“I always think clearly, Max. It’s my decision to make if I want to love you, not yours.”
I put my finger over her lips. “Max, you’ve made my head spin since the day I met you. People would think I’m fucking nuts for always going back for more. There was something that drew me to you at the bar that night. That spark between us had me wanting more. Nothing has changed. I need to know if that’s the only reason you kept trying to push me away.”
“Yes,” she replied as she peered up at me. I moved my fingers, giving her a chance to speak. “I was having a battle with myself. I kept telling myself to give us a shot and that maybe you could handle my illness when I was older. That’s if we stayed together, of course,” she added, and tried to crack a smile, but it was forced. “Then doubt would creep in and I’d try to be as mean as possible to get rid of you.”
“You did a good job.” I snickered as I brushed the hair away from her face.
“Watching my father disintegrate before my eyes changed me. I look healthy now, but I know what the disease can do to a person.”
“Tell me what happens.” I played with her hair between my fingertips and listened.
“It affects a person’s ability to walk, making them unsteady and weak. It also alters their ability to speak. I’ll sound like I’m drunk even when I’m not. My hands will have a hard time grasping objects and I will be robbed of my ability to write. My coordination will be off. I may want to walk to the left but my mind won’t get the signal and may go right.”
I took in everything she had to say as she continued laying out the severity of the condition and how she’d be changed physically. I knew I had to learn everything I could about it as soon as possible.
“Does it affect your mind?”
“No, I’ll still be the same person on the inside.”
“You’ll still be the same person on the outside too, Max.”
“Not really, Anthony. I’ll be a shell of my former self.”
“Max,” I said as I turned her in my lap to face me, “I don’t care what your future may be like. I’ve never loved a woman before I met you. Never. I don’t care if we have five years or fifty, I wanted all of them, every second you have on this planet, to be spent with me. I’m a selfish prick, remember? I can’t let you push me away again. I won’t let you be alone. You’ve caused enough pain in my life by trying to get rid of me. I won’t allow you to do it again.”
“Anthony, you don’t know what you’re saying. You don’t want a woman confined to a wheelchair. It’s so much more than that. Everything about me will be different. There won’t be a thing in my life that won’t be a struggle. Someday, I’ll need constant care. Do you really want to live like that? With the knowledge that you’ll have to take care of me.” Her eyes bored into me as they questioned the depths of my love.
I could understand her worry. We both knew I had been an asshole. Love wasn’t something I’d wanted or asked for in my life, but it had fallen in my lap.
“I know you think I’m not man enough to love you. I was an asshole. The most selfish prick to grace the planet, but you changed me. Your love has ruined me. I’m not the same man I was when I bought you that drink. Your love seeped into my veins and altered my world forever. If I had to pick between a life without you and one with you, even in a wheelchair, I’d pick you every time, Max. Every time I’d want you in my life.”
I paused, feeling my eyes begin to water. This wasn’t how I wanted my love to be. I didn’t want this to be true.
“No one has made me as happy and pissed off as you have. I’ve never felt a spark when I touched anyone. It’s only you.”
“You don’t know what you’re saying,” she said, shaking her head in my hands.
“I fucking do. The last few times you threw me out, I was gutted. Remember what I told you when I asked you to give us a chance?”
She nodded, remaining quiet.
“I said I never wanted to live wondering what could’ve been. I don’t want to have any regrets. I’m in too deep, baby. If I run away from you now, I know I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. No one will ever fill my heart the way you have. No one could love me the way you do, both good and bad. When I’m with you, everything in the world seems right. I can’t let you push me away. It’s not happening.”